Every season changes the environment around us and these external changes in the surroundings can have a deep impact on our body’s internal system. On a daily basis, we are constantly exposed to potentially harmful microbes of all sorts. We tend to get infected or affected with such microbes causing diseases or infections in the body. Planning your diet and eating according to the seasons can give you a lot of health benefits, make you more energetic, boost your immune system, and preventing multiple complications. It also keeps a check on unwanted weight gain, indigestion, stomach infection, respiratory problems and other health-related issues.
Eating proper food with required nutrients in adequate quantity helps boosting function of immune cells and enhances healthy immune system. Certain dietary patterns may better prepare the body for microbial attack, excess inflammation and recurrent infections... To help the body adapt, it is therefore important to follow food regimen during a particular season. According to Ayurveda, ritucharya in simple words means seasonal routine, the lifestyle & diet that need to be followed according to the particular season to maintain hormonal balance, boost immunity & to be fit and stay healthy. If what we eat is not in sync with nature, it is likely to result in compromised immunity and making one prone to lifestyle diseases.
Suggestions for seasonal foods to boost immunity-
Sadly, monsoon is the time when diseases, particularly of the digestive system, are rampant. So it is important to focus on our food quality and quantity along with food ingredients that we intake.
Monsoon season: Foodstuffs consumed during rainy season should preferably be warm and freshly cooked, easy to digest and light on stomach. Include lots of green and coloured vegetables in your diet. They have a good amount of nutrients that will keep you fit during this season. One should take medicated or boiled water. Drinking plenty of safe, potable water is as important as consuming warm, freshly prepared kadha, broths and soups. Omega-3 fatty acids are very important considering immune boosting action and also work as antioxidant. Natural omega 3 is present in foods like fish, shrimp, oysters, nuts and oilseeds like walnuts, pista, chia seeds, flax seeds. Also, it is important to consume a variety of seasonal fruits like pomegranates, plums, litchis, pears and vegetables like carrots, radish and fenugreek. One should include spices like Ginger, Turmeric, Black pepper and Clove in daily diet regime. These spices are antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and help in improving metabolism and boosting immune system.
Winter season- The goal of this season is to keep you warm and nourished. Winter the time to eat sweet, sour, and salty foods, as well as unctuous or oily dishes. To keep digestive your fire burning strong eat food that is warm and containing spices. Also eat foods that stimulates salivation, lots of fermented dishes and avoid foods that are cold, light, and dry. The ideal diet includes pumpkin, cabbage, spinach, corn, rice, carrots, potatoes, onions, beets, apples, dates, and dairy products. Boiled food is one of the best options for winter. Have plenty of soup, stews, and broths made of winter foods. Carrots, beets, green leafy vegetables as well as other root-based vegetables are extremely beneficial and can be had steamed or otherwise. Figs and dates are great dried fruits that can help you stay warm during winters. Figs and dates are rich in calcium and iron and are both warming in nature. They also boost body energy Food we eat in the winter season should always be warm.
Summer season- During summer try including food in your diet that tastes sweet, sour, light in nature, cooling and mineral-rich. Eat lots of herbs and drink lots of fruit juices, and avoid pungent, or warm foods. Keep hydrated with lots of water, and seek out antioxidants. The ideal summer diet includes lots of fresh fruit, and veggies like asparagus, cucumber, celery, and leafy greens. Eat foods rich in proteins, zinc and vitamin A, C and E. Include citrus fruits in your diet as they are rich in Vitamin C and are vital for improving your immunity. Also, try and include herbs like amla, mint, cardamom, basil in your diet to enhance your immunity and fight infections caused due to seasonal changes.
Following these food advisories throughout the seasons will ensure you stay healthy, fit and with a strong composition.
Dr. Arati Soman
Dr. Arati Soman is a seasoned Ayurvedic physician and Head Formulator at Nisarga Herbs. Driven by a deep passion for Ayurveda and vast expertise, she has been instrumental in formulating medicines, diagnostic procedures, and innovative Ayurvedic treatments that are trusted globally.